a handful of things that I love. . .

by mulberryshoots


As some of you may know, I began antiquing in the ’70s when we first moved up to New England and lived in a Victorian house in Lexington. I met a dealer who specialized in early (17th and early 18th century) furniture and Caucasian oriental rugs. Beverly lived down the road from me on Marrett Road and kindly guided me through the vagaries of the antiques business and early furniture construction. By chance, she and I had the same surname at the time. She left her husband and daughters to be with the love of her life and they had a brief time together with a very sad ending.

From that time forward, the handful of things I loved and collected included early tables, redware, baskets and hand-turned wooden bowls. Through the years, I bought and sold, mostly sold, collections of things that I thought I would never part with, but then found that I needed to when moving from place to place, both in terms of living spaces and as my life unfolded. Over the past forty years, I had pared down to very few things–not exactly a handful, but just about. I had bought and sold early gate-leg tables, a style that was in its prime in the early 18th century, hand-turned vase and ring balusters, painted dark red or black, the gates folding out to support the table leaves. In my zeal to clean things out with each wave of life that I entered, the gate-leg tables came and went. One was small and curly maple that later appeared in “Early American” magazine. One was cherry that was sold to me as maple. And so, life moved on.

Yesterday, I was at an antique show in Marlborough, MA. A dealer there from whom I had bought a few choice things in the past was there with a table that I had looked at more than ayear ago at a show he was set up at in Concord, MA. This time, I asked him how much it was. He looked at me and gave me a very good price. I took it home, a yearning I didn’t think was there anymore was replete–like a puzzle piece clicking into place. I’m going to keep this one.

In the photo above, the rocking chair beside it is as early as the table base (about 1720) and was the first serious piece of furniture that I discovered from a picker in the ’70s. It got lost in the shuffle of the divorce from my ex-husband and he took it to Arizona where he settled with his new wife, 20 years ago. Due to a suggestion my daughter made on my behalf to him, the chair made its way back to me a couple of years ago. That’s how sentimental I was about it, I guess. And I’m lucky that he understood.

The photo below is one of the huge wooden bowls that I have collected over the years. The one on the left in black paint was the first thing I ever bought at Skinner’s, our local auction house. I paid $15 for it and remembered I thought it was the biggest bowl I had ever seen at the time. The one in the middle, in pale green-grey paint, graces our kitchen with its majesty.

Note: If you click on the photos, you’ll be able to see things up close! The piece of redware with the ruffled edge and splotches came from the same dealer as the little early gateleg table in the photo above.